Wednesday, November 17, 2010

1970's : "Chinatown and generic transformation in recent American films," by John G. CaweltI By Tanya Ziegler


In this article John G. Cawelti talks about the four generic transformations, which have occurred: humorous burlesque, evocation of nostalgia, demythologization of generic myth and the affirmation of myth as myth. In order to support this analysis the author will use Polanski’s “Chinatown” and other movies such as “Bonnie and Clyde”, “The wild bunch” or “The Godfather”.

Throughout various precise examples extracted from scenes of the movies cited above, Cawelti shows how the evolution of society and its myth added to the awareness of film history of the young filmmakers would create a transformation of the genres. Because the film industry has now arrived at the point of creative exhaustion – genre such as musicals, domestic comedies, western or detective stories are “has been”. The audience and filmmakers are turning themselves towards more sophisticated movies.

In this direction, Cawelti announces the emergence during the half of the twentieth century a period of generic transformation where the imaginative landscape will be the motive of this evolution. In conclusion, the author predicts a cultural and artistic transition period where the American filmmaking will be at its best. Transition periods are known to be the periods with the highest artistic accomplishments.


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